Photo Gallery

Ares I Stage Separation
Artist concept of Ares I stage separation

Artist concept of the Ares I stage separation, a carefully timed event based upon preset acceleration levels. Separation will occur when those levels are read by on-board accelerometers which takes place when the first stage runs out of propellant and the internal pressure reduces. A set of linear-shaped charges between the upper stage and first stage will fire, separating the metal between the first stage and the interstage. At the same time, ten booster deceleration motors fire to pull the first stage directly backward, while eight ullage settling motors fire to push the upper stage forward.

Image credit: NASA/MSFC

> View large image